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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-30-2014

Milwaukee Journal, July 30, 1914:

If eight hours is made a legal working day in California, J. Cal Ewing, the boss of the San Francisco Seals, says he is going to get a legal day’s work out of his ball players. The most that any of them work now is five hours. Three hours of this is in the game in the afternoon, a couple in morning practice.

In the rest of the time, Ewing says he can find work for them cutting grass in the park, sweeping the stands, and marking the foul lines. If the law says eight hours is a day’s work, Cal declares he will see to it that the law is obeyed.

Jeffrey Loria: the early years.

Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: July 30, 2014 at 06:44 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-29-2014

Pittsburgh Press, July 29, 1914:

Manager Clark Griffith, of Washington, blames his team’s failure to be higher up in the race on the fact that no less than six of his players are inveterate cigaret smokers and inhalers.
...
The Nationals’ manager argues that it is impossible for a ball player to do himself justice when he takes liberties with cigarets, and he called all his smokers to task and gave them to understand that the habit must cease if they expect to be of any service to their team.

Smoking annoys me too, Clark, but your team’s failure is probably more a result of your starting catcher hitting .169/.274/.226 and your starting shortstop hitting .203/.274/.243.

Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: July 29, 2014 at 06:48 AM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: clark griffith, dugout, history

Monday, July 28, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-28-2014

Tacoma Times, July 28, 1914:

Tacoma has a new pitcher.
...
The “Mysterious Pitcher” will warm up today. He will warm up tomorrow also. And he will pitch against Ballard either Thursday or Friday afternoon.

But the man of mystery will wear a mask over his face during every game. He will be escorted from the field in a closed taxicab. There are not more than five persons who know his identity, not even the players having the slightest idea of who he is.

Looks like the “mysterious pitcher” never actually appeared in a game. It turned out to the telegraph operator from the press box.

Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: July 28, 2014 at 06:41 AM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Schoenfield: Why didn’t the Braves win more titles?

This article isn’t meant to be a criticism or detract from the accomplishments of Maddux, Glavine and Cox, but it’s also fair to point out that part of the legacy of those Braves teams is that those 14 playoff appearances led to just one World Series title (1995). Why wasn’t it more? The law of averages—if every playoff team were considered equal—suggests the Braves should have won 2.1 championships in this period, so they really only underperformed by one title by this measure.

But the Braves were often better than the opponent who beat them, at least in the regular season, so maybe it should have been at least three titles. I thought it would be interesting to go back and see what went wrong for them. We’ll list three factors for each postseason series defeat during that period.

...Of course, in the postseason, when the margin for error is smaller and the opponents better, those mistakes become more important. Still, maybe that wasn’t a decisive factor; the Braves reached on an error 58 times in these 14 playoffs years, their opponents 64.

Maybe a key to the Braves’ success—starting pitching depth—just wasn’t as big of a factor in the playoffs, when their opponents could shorten their rotations. Maybe power pitching does win in October; think of some of the pitchers the Braves lost to (Schilling with the Phillies and then the Diamondbacks; Johnson; Wood and Prior; Clemens and Roy Oswalt). The Braves’ best playoff starter was Smoltz, more of a power pitcher than Maddux and Glavine. Maddux went 11-13 with a 2.81 ERA in his Braves postseason career but also allowed 18 unearned runs in 27 starts; he was good but not quite the Maddux of the regular season. Glavine was 12-15 with a 3.44 ERA in his Braves postseason career. (He had a 3.15 ERA in the regular season during this period.)

But Braves fans will always have 1995, Maddux pitching a two-hitter to win the opener and then Glavine clinching it with that masterful Game 6 performance, allowing just one hit in eight innings. It’s hard to believe that was 19 years ago.

Thanks to Chet.

Repoz Posted: July 27, 2014 at 10:55 AM | 87 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, history

Friday, July 25, 2014

5 for Friday: Leo Mazzone, pitching coach to the HOFers

“the hitters are off the ‘roids and the amphetamines for chrissake!” I’m now going to use this to end every bargument I get into.

5. MALINOWSKI: There’s been a trend this season where we’re seeing more position players pitch in games than ever before, but the Braves haven’t had one do so since 1989, the longest such streak for any team. Was that something that was just never considered, and what do you make of this new acceptance we’re seeing these days?

MAZZONE: Yeah, I know it wasn’t when I was there. There’s no way. That’s an embarrassment. That’s embarrassing your pitching staff.

No, it wasn’t considered at all. What we’d do is, if we felt we were short and it could go a long way in extra innings, I held back one of the starter’s practice sessions, so that he was available down in the bullpen if it went extra innings. And then if it looked like he wasn’t going to go in, then he could have his practice session, to get ready for his next start. That happened very rarely.

If someone has the sense to figure this out — which we did — if you have your setup guys learn how to throw great straight changes, how many times do you have to change righty/righty, lefty/lefty? It negates a changing of the pitcher for every single hitter. So therefore you don’t use as many pitchers.

Now, why’s it going on a record pace? Because there’s eight pitchers used every game, four on one side at least and four on another! So therefore, you run out. It’s absolutely asinine how pitching staffs have been handled in the big leagues so far, the trend anyway. They’ll say, “Well, everyone’s pitching good.” Well, they’re pitching good because the hitters are off the ‘roids and the amphetamines for chrissake! I mean, let’s be real about all this. And the way (Maddux and Glavine) pitched and they’re going in the Hall of Fame and they did that in the era of offensive baseball? Makes it even more of a tremendous accomplishment.

Repoz Posted: July 25, 2014 at 10:16 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: history, hof

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-25-2014

Bennington [Vermont] Evening Banner, July 25, 1914:

The management of the Athletics, the American League baseball club, has forbidden the further operation by newspapers or other news distributing agencies of baseball score boards on which the games in [Philadelphia] are reproduced on the street play by play. The management takes the ground that the boards are responsible for the loss of more than $1,000 a day in attendance at the ball park.
...
[Athletics president Ben Shibe:] “It is just as if everything that was taking place in theatres should be reported free to a crowd outside the house. I don’t see why the newspapers want to supply such news. Why don’t they give their papers away free? It would be just as reasonable.”

100 years later, baseball fans can use pocket devices to get free live pitch-by-pitch updates of dozens of MLB and MiLB games every day, not to mention free content from newspapers.

Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: July 25, 2014 at 07:55 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Surprising Sports Stars – Guided by Voices’ Robert Pollard

Perhaps Now the Phil Regan.

Another claim to fame for Guided by Voices is that Pollard is sometimes mentioned as the most prolific songwriter of his generation. In fact, he’s joked that he could write five songs while on the toilet, and three of them would be good. As of the writing of this article, he has 1669 songs registered with BMI, and more than 80 albums released.

But what makes Pollard’s story even more unbelievable comes down to his less heralded athletic past. It may not be such a surprise to think of Pollard as a ‘jock,’ given his propensity for high kicks and microphone twirls while performing in concert. As a high school athlete in a sports obsessed Dayton, Robert Pollard was a football quarterback who could throw for an amazing 70 yards, and a basketball point guard who averaged 20 points a game.

But it was in baseball where he was especially notable. He was a star pitcher with a 95 miles an hour fastball, and who in 1978 threw a no-hitter for Wright State University. Pollard’s father, believing his son to be a gifted athlete, rubbed down his arm each night, referring to the appendage as his ‘golden arm.’ Sadly, the ‘golden arm’ eventually failed him after popping a tendon in his elbow, and his throwing speed fell to around 85-88 mph. His baseball career was essentially over after an unsuccessful tryout camp with the Cincinnati Reds.

Later, while on the 1994 Lollapalooza tour with Guided by Voices, his sporting past most famously reemerged during a basketball game where his band played against a combined force of The Smashing Pumpkins and The Beastie Boys. Though the latter two bands were huge basketball fans, they had no idea who they were up against, and by all accounts it wasn’t much of a contest.

Repoz Posted: July 24, 2014 at 05:52 PM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: history, music

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-24-2014

Washington Times, July 24, 1914:

Eppa Jephtha Absolom Rixey, jr., [sic] former Virginia varsity twirler, was sadly bumped again yesterday by the Cubs. Rixey insisted on remaining at college until June this season and has been of no use to the Phillies at all. He has yet to win a ball game and may be released.

This is the second day in a row that a newspaper suggested that a guy who’d go on to become the winningest pitcher in franchise history would be released. Yesterday it was the Phils’ eventual all-time wins leader, today the Reds.

Rixey went 2-11 and allowed 73 runs (50 earned) in 103 innings in 1914, but the Phillies didn’t release him. They kept him long enough for him to pitch brilliantly for a few years and lead the league in losses twice (the Phillies were terrible for most of his time there). Eventually they traded him to Cincinnati for a Hall of Famer, but unfortunately it was a Pro Football Hall of Famer: Greasy Neale. They also got league-average innings eater Jimmy Ring in the Rixey deal.

Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: July 24, 2014 at 10:44 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, eppa rixey, history

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Goldman: Eliminating the shift a bandage for a phantom wound

Oh Bandage Up Yours!

Fans like offense. That’s what professional writers such as Buster Olney and Tom Verducci are saying as well: We dwell in a low-offense valley, and they miss the offense.

Olney suggested “perhaps lowering the mound again, or changing the composition of the ball.” Verducci wants to outlaw the shift. The terrible, painful irony here is that they fail to recognize that such remedies for the current lack of offense are no different from the use of drugs to get the same effect. What doesn’t seem to have occurred to those asking for more offense is that they are requesting the manipulation of scoring levels by artificial means, which is exactly what Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez supposedly did.

What they are suggesting is actually worse, because the efficacy of PEDs was never untangled from all the other phenomena at work during that period, particularly stadium design, ball composition and a highly variable but generally shrinking strike zone, whereas if you (say) lowered the mound, or lowered it and moved it back from its traditional 60’6” from home plate, if you moved all the fences in to 250 feet, if you shrunk the foul territory in ballparks like Oakland’s and told the Rockies to deactivate their humidor, we know what would happen. You’d fix offense, in the sense that the 1919 World Series was fixed.

Self-appointed purists have complained that baseball’s sacred record-book was pillaged by drug users, but it was always subject to manipulations like these. Remember 1930, the average hitter in the National League averaged .303 and slugged .448. After that season, the NL deadened the ball by publicized choice, whereas the American League stayed with the rabbit ball for awhile longer. That’s why from 1931 through 1938 the AL had 14 seasons of 40 or more home runs and the NL had none, why Lou Gehrig and Hank Greenberg had seasons of more than 180 RBI and the NL topped out with Joe Medwick’s 154 (one of only two NL seasons of more than 138 RBI during that period), the NL had seven seasons with batting averages above .350 while the AL had 18, and so on.

We won’t rehash all the other ways that baseball’s record book is bogus except to mention the biggest one: Apartheid major league baseball was a minor league.

Repoz Posted: July 23, 2014 at 05:00 PM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: history

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-23-2014

The [Missoula, MT] Daily Missoulian, July 23, 1914:

Grover Cleveland Alexander, a bear with the Phillies only two seasons back, has taken a hurry-up drop. In view of his poor work last season and this year his release by the Phillies had been anticipated, but it was thought he would go to a class AA organization. Instead he has been consigned to Syracuse in the New York State league

Yeah, Ol’ Pete had a really rough 1914. He only led the league in wins, innings pitched, complete games, and batters faced.

I have absolutely no idea what the author of this blurb was thinking, but Alexander didn’t pitch in the minor leagues again until 1930, when he was a washed up 43-year-old.

Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: July 23, 2014 at 06:38 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, grover cleveland alexander, history

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-22-2014

Pittsburgh Press, July 22, 1914:

Pain and thoughts of injury disappeared when Guy Copeland, 22 years old, who had been injured in a ball game at Fifteenth st. [sic] and the Paseo, awoke from a semi-conscious condition and found himself in an undertaking shop, where he had been taken for treatment.
...
Copeland sprang from the table. It was too far to the door, and he plunged through a window, taking screen and all with him…Copeland forgot his aching head; he just kept on running…He finally was caught and the wound, which was not serious, was treated. “I thought they’d made a mistake and thought I was dead,” gasped Copeland.

Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: July 22, 2014 at 06:36 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sports Reference Blog: 1901-02 Orioles Removed from Yankees History

Baseball-Reference has made the move to dissociate the New York Yankees franchise from the 1901 & 1902 Baltimore Orioles (not connected to the current Baltimore Orioles franchise). [...] This move was precipitated by the BAL/NYY joint record approaching the milestone of 10,000 wins, which caused a reassessment of how we approach this move.

bobm Posted: July 21, 2014 at 08:33 PM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: history, yankees

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-21-2014

Milwaukee Journal, July 21, 1914:

President Frank E. Murphy of the Green Bay club, in a letter to President Frank R. Weeks of the W-I League on Monday, demanded that punishment be meted out to Catcher Snow of the Oshkosh club for throwing chewing tobacco into the grandstand during Saturday’s game.
...
In the affidavit it is declared the tobacco hit several women in the stand.

I guess it’s better than getting hit by a flying chair.

Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: July 21, 2014 at 06:33 AM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, July 18, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-18-2014

An account of the game of the year from the Pittsburgh Press, July 18, 1914:

In the sixth inning, Wagner singled, after Mowrey had been retired, and took third of [sic] Viox’s drive to center. Bescher pegged to Stock, but when the Giant third-sacker tried to locate the ball it was missing. Wagner jumped up and started for home, and as he ran the sphere dropped from his clothing…Umpire Byron called Wagner out for interference.
...
The decision caused a mighty howl, which was participated in by many of the players and by Manager Fred Clarke, who applied a flow of profanity to the umpire, which was anything but pleasing to the disgusted spectators who were forced to listen to it or leave the grounds. Mr. Clarke’s language on this occasion, or any other, will not win ball games. It is doing things - and doing them right - that counts in the records.

The whole article is worth a read if you have a couple minutes.

New York won the game 3-1 in 21 innings, a classic that included complete games from Rube Marquard and Babe Adams, Adams going 21 innings without issuing a walk, Mike Mowrey costing the Pirates a win by not running out a ground ball, and the goofy play mentioned in the excerpt.

Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: July 18, 2014 at 08:40 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, honus wagner

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-17-2014

Milwaukee Journal, July 17, 1914:

HAS DENT IN HEAD

George Weaver, captain and shortstop of the Chicago White Sox, who was injured in a collision with Demmitt, the left fielder, while going after a fly ball at Shibe Park yesterday, will probably be out of the game several days. Weaver has a dent in his forehead over his left eye as the result of coming in contact with Demmitt’s chin.

Seems like you’d get the exact opposite of a dent in your head if you ran into somebody’s chin.

Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: July 17, 2014 at 09:55 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: buck weaver, dugout, history, ray demmitt

John Feinstein: Len Bias, like Pete Rose, shouldn’t be in a Hall of Fame

A march to sheer madness…

There is no doubt a stain of mendacity on Rose that never fell on Bias. Rose repeatedly lied in depositions for the Dowd Report, the findings of which led to Rose accepting a ban from baseball in 1989. Rose only stopped lying about betting on baseball in 2004 because he was peddling a book and because he believed — as he said as recently as this week — that if he finally fessed up, Selig would reinstate him. He didn’t do it because his conscience caught up with him but because he was tring to sell books and because he thought he would get off the hook if he said, “Yeah, yeah, you got me.”

It hasn’t worked out that way. And Rose has become a pathetic figure, annually showing up on various media outlets during the all-star break to plead his case. His latest rationale is that what he did wasn’t as bad as what steroid users did. That’s debatable — but it’s also irrelevant to his case for induction.

There’s a character clause on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, which is why no one should ever vote for Rose or any of those who took steroids and lied about taking them.

...In the cases of Bias and Rose, there is no ignoring the numbers — but they can’t stand alone in making final judgment.

Baseball was sullied and damaged by Rose’s actions, which should mean the privilege of being in the Hall of Fame is taken from him in spite of his remarkable achievements.

The same, sadly, should be true of Bias. There’s no questioning he lit up the Maryland campus for four years. But there’s also no questioning he left it in darkness for many years in the wake of his death.

Unlike Rose, Bias should be forgiven. He was young and foolish and paid the most horrible price possible for his mistake. But, like Rose, he should not be honored.

Pitied, certainly. But honored? No.

Repoz Posted: July 17, 2014 at 07:25 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: history

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-16-2014

Pittsburgh Press, July 16, 1914:

Eight of the Boston Redsox [sic] were chased from the bench by the umpires yesterday for making uncomplimentary remarks about the Cleveland players.

I find it fascinating that this is buried deep in the “baseball notes” column. If eight players from one team got ejected in one game in 2014, it would be the top sports story everywhere in the country.

Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 08:23 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-15-2014

Pittsburgh Press, July 15, 1914:

A dispute over the color of uniforms is said to have a large part in the breaking up of the California State league, which has disbanded.
...
The freeholders of Modesto got up and declared themselves. The had had an independent team known as the Modesto Reds, which wore red uniforms; they put it in the state league and the uniforms were changed in color. If the State league backer would consent to Modesto’s team wearing red uniforms they would back the game; if not, by heck, they wouldn’t because there wasn’t no goshdanged good to their town in having a team that didn’t wear colors that were distinctly Modesto’s. The other towns wouldn’t agree to the red uniform proposition and the league was buried.

Eh, you can have a league without Modesto. Modesto is not that sweet.

Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: July 15, 2014 at 10:11 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, overreaction

With hitting down, should MLB lower the mound?

Or as pulse of the notion, Keith Hernandez said about the death of Tommy Ramone: “Hey, you come and go. They had a good run.”

From his vantage point in the New York Mets’ broadcast booth, former NL MVP Keith Hernandez has an unusual analysis and an equally drastic solution.

“They should get rid of four teams,” he said. “Too many players. There’s too much dilution of talent. The pitching’s not better. It’s the same.”

“I think that the residuals of steroids and aluminum bats has affected how they taught kids how to hit, and now we’re seeing normal bodies and balls that used to get out of the ballpark are caught now,” he said.

...From the seventh inning on, baseball resembles the 1960s, the greatest era for pitchers since the lively ball days began in 1920. The .241 batting average in the late innings is the lowest since STATS’s records began in 1974, and teams are averaging just 1.30 runs - not much incentive to keep fans in stadiums or watching their televisions.

“Obviously the real ‘solution’ here is to ban setup men and closers,” ESPN’s Keith Olbermann said.

“I’m not sure lowering the mound would have much impact. Does a lower mound transform strikeouts into homers? Viscerally this doesn’t even feel like the results of cleaning out PEDs, because batters continue to hit the ball harder and farther - and less. Ultimately this seems like just more in the decades-long transformation of batting into mere swinging,” he said.

Baseball remains the most traditional of American sports. Change comes slowly - widespread instant replay for umpires only began this year.

“I would be reluctant to lower the mound further,” said John Thorn, MLB’s official historian, “as this might be using a sledgehammer to swat a fly.”

Repoz Posted: July 15, 2014 at 08:37 AM | 172 comment(s)
  Beats: history

Monday, July 14, 2014

Rod Carew: Former Twins Oliva, Kaat, Morris deserve place in Hall of Fame

I haven’t seen twins neglected like this since Poto and Cabengo!

Rod Carew, the hall of famer and former Twin who was named to 18 All-Star Games and will make the ceremonial first pitch at Tuesday night’s All-Star Game at Target Field, served on the Expansion-Era Hall of Fame committee that in two weeks will induct ex-managers Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre in Cooperstown, N.Y.

But with a proviso.

“I told the president of the Hall of Fame that the only way I would be on that committee is if I could be on the next committee when (former Twins teammates) Tony (Oliva) and Jim (Kaat) come up (for election),” Carew said.

That will be the Golden Era Committee. Carew, a seven-time batting champion, wasn’t a member of that committee that in 2011 elected just one candidate, Ron Santo, to the Hall of Fame, but left Kaat as a runner-up for election. Oliva finished fourth in that voting.

The next Golden Era Committee voting will be in December. Oliva turns 76 next Sunday. Kaat turns 76 in November.

“(Kaat and Oliva) definitely deserve to be there,” Carew said. “Not only those guys, but it hurts me that (St. Paul native Jack Morris) is not there. Here’s a guy that was so dominant for so many years and deserves to be there, and they keep (inexplicably) bypassing him.”

Repoz Posted: July 14, 2014 at 06:01 PM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: history, hof, twins

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-14-2014

Harrisburg Telegraph, July 14, 1914:

“Baseball-football,” a combination of the diamond and gridiron sports originating in the mind of Herman Brosoweska, director of the [Detroit] board of education’s model playground center, was conceived to satisfy 200 schoolboys.

A very large, but light, ball is used. The pitcher tosses the ball to the batter at a level of one foot above the ground. Football tactics are employed by the batter, who kicks the ball. The usual rules for fielding and base running are used. A runner is called out only when he has been hit fairly with the ball.

So…kickball, I guess? Seems more like “baseball-association football” to me.

Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: July 14, 2014 at 08:22 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, July 11, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-11-2014

Washington Herald, July 12, 1914:

Boston, July 11—The Red Sox took a fall out of the tail-end Naps here to-day, beating them 4 to 3 in a game that was hard-fought all the way. “Baby” Ruth, the $25,000 Baltimore star, opened in the box for the winners, but game way to a pinch hitter in the seventh, when the score was three all. Leonard finished up. Mitchell did the hurling for Cleveland and was hit hard at opportune times by the home team.

Duffy Lewis: The first man to pinch-hit for Babe Ruth in the big leagues.

Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: July 11, 2014 at 08:29 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, dugout, history

When a bat boy went to a Paul McCartney concert with Mark Fidrych and Tom Veryzer

The Old Red Rose Speedway Barn…ugh. Guess the Death gig was sold out.

On Saturday, May 8, just a few weeks prior to The Bird becoming the most famous player in all baseball (at least all baseball in 1976), I had the good fortune of hanging out with him. Paul McCartney and his newly formed band were in the middle of their “Wings Over America Tour,” and Tiger shortstop Tom Veryzer and I planned to go hear them the night after an afternoon game between the Tigers and the White Sox. We decided to meet at the Lindell AC for a burger and beer before going to Olympia Stadium to hear the famous Beatle in concert. Detroit was one of only six states where the McCartney band was going to appear for more than one night. The show we were headed for was completely sold out, just as it had been the previous night.

...A little more than halfway through the evening, Fidrych said he was going to go to the concession stands to get a beer. We decided to stay put and waited until he returned. Twenty minutes or so went by, and no Bird. Finally, I turned my head around to see if I could spot him making his way back to us, and sure enough, I could see him. However he wasn’t on his way back. He was standing in long line to the girls’ bathroom directly behind the section we were sitting in, and he wasn’t alone. He had found two very attractive blonds who were there all by themselves. Apparently he had started a conversation with them on his way back to our seats on the steps. The ladies were on their way to the bathroom, and he decided to stand in line with them and continue the conversation. It did not end there, either. I watched as the line drew closer to the bathroom entrance, and I could see he was not going to wait outside for them. I tapped Veryzer on the shoulder (he was sitting in front of me) and pointed out what was going on. Tom giggled.

“Watch,” he said. “He will go right into the bathroom with them.” And he did!

Remember, this was 1976, long before girls started going into men’s bathrooms at concerts and sporting events – something they started doing sometime in the ’80s or ’90s, or maybe even later. This kind of thing was taboo back then, and I thought for sure Fidrych would end up with cops going in and carrying him out of there. But, alas, none were around. He disappeared into the bathroom with the girls and reappeared about ten or fifteen minutes later and headed toward us. He sat down behind me as we acknowledged his return. He grinned to us and said, “Got them.”

“Got them, what?” we replied.

“Got both their phone numbers, and I told them I’d be calling one of them tomorrow, but I didn’t tell them which one.”

Veryzer said, “Did you ever think of introducing one of them to us?”

“Nah,” he said. “I’m not sure which one I like better, but when I do I’ll see if the other one would like to meet one of you.” We all chuckled and went back to watching the remainder of the concert.

Repoz Posted: July 11, 2014 at 07:35 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: history, tigers

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-10-2014

Washington Times, July 10, 1914:

The Boston American League team today purchased of the Baltimore International team Pitcher Ruth, Catcher Egan, and Shore, paying in the vicinity of $30,000 for the three men.

President Lannin, in making the announcement, would not state the exact amount, other than it was in excess of the $25,000 offer he made for Ruth, Shore, and Derrick when the Boston club was in Washington last week.

Worth every penny.

Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: July 10, 2014 at 09:30 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, dugout, ernie shore, history

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-9-2014

Pittsburgh Press, July 9, 1914:

Ossie E. Schreckengost, aged 39, better known as “Schreck,” former battery mate of “Rube” Waddell, died here today of a complication of diseases. Although ill for the past two years, his condition was not considered serious until yesterday, when he collapsed in a cafe.
...
He caught for the Mackmen 10 years.

Waddell passed away in April 1914, just three months before his batterymate. Seems odd that a pitcher and catcher who worked together so frequently would die young so close to each other.

Schrecongost (there are a number of spellings that get used, but this is what BB-Ref uses) was a pretty good player. Played 11 years in the majors, career .271 hitter, top ten in the league in dWAR three times. Got some mild HOF support for a few years, but was never a legitimate candidate.

Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: July 09, 2014 at 08:16 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, ossee schrecongost

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